Colette at work about 1940. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Recently, American writer Edmund White remarked, not for the first time, that literary figures are far more respected in France than in the US. Whe(...)

‘New Yorker’ baseball writer Roger Angell (left) with retired baseball player  George Brett during a reception in Angell’s honour in Cooperstown, New York, at which he received the JG Taylor Spink Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s writing honour. Photograph: Nathaniel Brooks/The New York Times

Roger Angell takes off his brown J Press sports coat and blue cap, yanks out his hearing aids, stashes his cane and sits down for a shave and hairc(...)

Gerald Dawe: ‘Do it because you want to and not for any other reason, and stick at it no matter what.’  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

What was the first book to make an impression on you? Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence. What was your favourite book as a child? Treasure Island(...)

‘Seamus Heaney suggested that if the American national myth is the frontier, the Irish national myth is the bog.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Through such writers as Beckett, Shaw and Wilde, Irish literature cannot be accused of ignoring philosophy, but very often it features as the butt (...)

Emma Donoghue, Dermot Bolger, Liz Nugent and Karen Joy Fowler

A job scanning old regional newspapers (Niamh Boyce’s The Herbalist); a walk around a university campus with a child (Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Co(...)

Nicholson Baker: writes fiction based not on story but on his world view. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Paul Chowder gets by. He is a poet who has lost interest in writing poems and would rather spend his days making music. About to turn 55, he se(...)

David Baddiel: ‘The more famous you are, the less the version of you that’s out there is true. I am ridiculously obsessed with authenticity’

‘Fame is a silly thing that makes your life absurd,” says David Baddiel, once a quarter of The Mary Whitehouse Exp(...)

Manil Suri: a scene in his The City of Devi impressed judges.  “We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei,” he wrote. Photograph: Jose Villarrubia

Manil Suri has won the annual Bad Sex in Fiction award for a scene in his novel The City of Devi describing a sexual encounter in terms of exploding s(...)

Illustration by William Bock from The Dead by James Joyce, published by Paravion Press

There’s a moment in Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch where the first crumb of comfort comes in the shape of cheese on toast. Her lead characte(...)

Colin Barrett: bends language to expose new angles

In a Dublin cafe, a few minutes into an interview with Colin Barrett, he does that thing all storytellers do without realising: he imparts an innocuou(...)